Prime FactorsNumber theory has fascinated mathematicians for years. Fundamental to number theory are numbers themselves, and the basic building blocks for numbers are prime numbers. A prime number is a counting number that only has two factors, itself and one. Counting numbers which have more than two factors (such as six, whose factors are 1, 2, 3 and 6), are said to be composite numbers. The number one only has one factor and is considered to be neither prime nor composite. When a composite number is written as a product of all of its prime factors, we have the prime factorization of the number. For example, the number 72 can be written as a product of primes as: Knowing the rules for divisibility will be very helpful when seeking to write a number in prime factorization form. Since a number is divisible by two if it ends in either 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8, it should be noted that two is the only even prime number. Another way to factor a number other than using factor trees is to start dividing by prime numbers, as shown below. When checking to see if a number is prime or not, you need only divide by those prime numbers which when squared remain less than the given number. For example to see if 131 is prime, you need only check for divisibility by 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11, since 13^{2} = 169. If a prime number greater than 13 divided 131, then the other factor would have to be less than 13 and you would have checked those already. 
